In Judge Harbin-Forte’s Courtroom — Where Jury Duty Is an Exercise in Mindfulness

A long line of people waiting to enter the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, Hayward Hall of Justice, 24405 Amador Street, Hayward, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

A long line of people, many of them prospective jurors, waited to enter the Superior Court of California building in Hayward at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Tired of multitasking? Want to get away from Facebook, your cell phone, your boss, and that squeaky faucet that needs fixing? Get yourself called up for jury duty. [Read more...]


At the LA County Museum of Art: Van Gogh, Kandinsky and a Bump on the Head

Red poles adorn a walkway at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Photo by BF Newhall

Walkway at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. No glass walls to encounter here. Photo by BF Newhall

A banner announcing an exhibtion of expressionist art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA. Photo by BF NewhallIn a fire, between a Rembrandt, and a cat, I would save the cat.” – Alberto Giacometti

“Walk carefully and remember that your lives are more important than a piece of art.”  — “The Monuments Men”

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

For Giacometti, the twentieth-century Swiss sculptor, a living thing was more important than an inanimate object, even if that inanimate object happened to be a 300-year-old painting by Rembrandt.

And the heroes of the movie, “The Monuments Men,” charged with preventing the destruction of much of Europe’s art treasures during the closing months of World War II, were told more than once that human lives, including their own, were more important than the art [Read more...]


At the Breast Cancer Center — Where Everyone Is Super Nice to You

Two pear-shaped floral skin markers with metal beads for marking nipples during mammogram. Photo by BF Newhall

Even the dime-sized stickers with metal beads used to mark the location of your nipples during a mammogram are upbeat at the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

A smiling receptionist is there to greet you as you enter the lobby of the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center in San Francisco’s East Bay. She directs you to the registration desk, where there’s no wait. A nice woman politely finishes up a conversation and is ready to help. [Read more...]


Actor Robert Morse – Sweaty at 36, Sublime at 83

A scene from Mad Men TV series where Robert Morse playing Bert Cooper sings and dances surrounded by dancing secretaries for Don Draper.

Robert Morse: Song-and-dance man. AMC photo.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The last time I saw Robert Morse there were beads of sweat on his forehead. It was 1967 and he was working the crowd on the set of a local TV comedy show. [Read more...]


Travel Adventures: The Poop on China – And the Pee

A symbol in the lavatory of Shanghai airport indicating a Western-style sit-down toilet. Photo by BF Newhall

Spotted outside a Shanghai airport lavatory — accomodating the Western toileting style. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I’ve been contemplating writing this little photo essay on the toilets – public and really public — of China ever since Jon and I traveled there last September. My mid-century Midwestern upbringing was getting in the way — nice people don’t talk about poop and pee in public. Or in private, for that matter.

My nose for news finally prevailed over my Midwestern need to be nice, [Read more...]

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